Speakers cited concerns regarding the sullying of Mount Shasta's sacred waters, the possible impacts to local aquifers, potentially dangerous chemicals used at the facility, a proliferation of truck traffic, potential noise pollution, and jobs which may not pay a “living wage,” among others.
A group of about 50 concerned citizens attended Monday's Mount Shasta City Council meeting to air their concerns regarding Crystal Geyser's planned opening of a beverage manufacturing and bottling facility on Ski Village Drive.
Speakers cited concerns regarding the sullying of Mount Shasta's sacred waters, the possible impacts to local aquifers, potentially dangerous chemicals used at the facility, a proliferation of truck traffic, potential noise pollution, and jobs which may not pay a "living wage," among others.
Several speakers asked that Crystal Geyser be required to conduct a full Environmental Impact Report before opening at the former Coca Cola facility in Dec. 2014.
Mount Shasta City Manager Paul Eckert said the city will be conducting a full EIR on the city's wastewater treatment system upgrades, which are being funded with a $3 million grant from the state's Economic Development Administration and a matching $3 million from Crystal Geyser.
Though the Crystal Geyser facility is on Siskiyou County land, the company will utilize Mount Shasta's wastewater treatment facility.
Eckert said the city is currently soliciting for an engineer and environmental firms to perform the necessary studies and acknowledged the audience posed "good questions" that he'll work to answer as soon as possible.
Eckert also pointed to a development agreement with Crystal Geyser, which will outline plans for the wastewater system upgrades and other issues, such as requiring truck traffic to use the north Mt. Shasta Interstate 5 onramp in order to keep heavy traffic off downtown streets.
Vicki Gold asked the council to imagine the "highest and best use" for the acreage and the 145,000 square foot facility that's built there. She visualizes something like a skating rink or a greenhouse, which would provide jobs and food for the community.
She asked that Crystal Geyser be required to perform full studies under the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act.
"We understand this is county property, but we are asking you to take the lead role," Gold told city councilors Stearns and Harkness, Tom Moore, Michael Burns and Jeffrey Collings.
At this time, Siskiyou County has determined that Crystal Geyser's proposed use of the facility is permitted under the county's heavy industrial zoning classification and will require no additional environmental impact reports. No water use limits apply because Crystal Geyser has water rights that go along with the acreage.
Those present at Monday's meeting took exception to those ideas. Raven Stevens said the people have a right to know how much water Crystal Geyser is extracting and how much is being flushed into the city's wastewater treatment system.
Geneva Oman and Daniel Axelrod both spoke about the potential dangers of paracedic acid, which is used to rinse plastic bottles as a disinfecting agent. Both said they worry about it entering the Sacramento River watershed.
Francis Mangels said he distrusts corporations and made assertions that since Dannon and Coca Cola have extracted water, the Headwaters have dropped and the number of aquatic insects has declined.
Joa Janakoayas said a sign was recently placed at the Mount Shasta City Park near the Headwaters which warns people the water is untested and may not be fit for consumption. He called the timing "interesting."
Luisa Navejas of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe spoke about the sacred nature of Mt. Shasta's water. She said their sacred spring is currently dry – something that has never happened in her tribe's history.
"The water speaks to us. We sing to it and pray to it," Navejas said. "Because the spring is dry, we don't know what the water is saying or what it's thinking."
Mark Miyoshi, also a representative of the Winnemem Wintu, said he experienced changes in his well on Pine Grove Drive when Coca Cola was pumping water. He believes that Crystal Geyser may use even more water and worries what this might do to his well.
Sarabecca Barnett said she suffers from multiple chemical sensitivity and that she moved to Mount Shasta because of its clean air and water. She urged the council not to allow a company to operate in a place which we "hold up as a beacon of health, spirituality and outdoor recreation."
Other speakers on the topic included Richard Lucas, Roslyn McCoy, Barbara Coulter, Bill Korbel, Neil Posson, Bayla Greenspoon and Linda Webb.